Skip to content

Patty Heyda

Patty Heyda is an urban and architectural designer, author, and educator. She studies American cities and design politics, with a focus on mapping, privatization, St. Louis, and spatial justice in weak market cities and transitioning American suburbs. She earned her master of architecture with distinction from Harvard University.

Heyda is the author of “Radical Atlas” (2024), an exploration of the structural contradictions and racial inequalities underlying market-based planning in the American first ring suburb, told through the lens of Ferguson, Missouri. Her other projects detail particularities of what she calls “erasure urbanism” and constructions of race and redevelopment processes that erode urban, democratic, and lived space. Recent work includes: “Food Desert: Feeding the Regional Economic Imaginary” (2023), “The Façade of Redevelopment” (2022), “#ArchSoWhite” (2021), “What About Typology? An Update for Late Capitalism” (2019), “Erasure Urbanism” (2017), “Unbuilding and Rebuilding St. Louis” (2016), “Dispatch from the Moral Border” (2011) and others. Heyda is also the coauthor of “Rebuilding the American City” (2016) with David Gamble, which profiles complexities and creative design strategies 15 U.S. cities navigate as they transform in the public-private context marked by compounding eco-social crises. A follow up, “Rebuilding the American Small Town” is forthcoming (2024). Portions of Heyda’s coauthored “Roman Operating System,” exploring ancient Rome as a capital growth machine, can be found in “Mutations” and “Content” (ed. Rem Koolhaas).

Heyda’s professional experiences span architecture and urban design, in Europe and the U.S. Her built work with Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel has been published in “El Croquis,” “Domus,” and other books and periodicals. Heyda’s independent design projects are also widely recognized with awards from the St. Louis AIA, Nashville Civic Design Center, the Zagreb-based ThinkSpace platform, among others.

In 2022, Heyda received the APA St. Louis Dwight F. Davis Award for Outstanding Planning Advocacy. She has been interviewed on National Public Radio’s “Here and Now,” and for the documentary film “The Kinloch Doc.” Her public facing work appears in The Conversation, Blavity, Fast Company, Salon, The Houston Chronicle, City Lab, and other outlets.

Featured publications

Rebuilding the American City: Design and Strategy for the 21st Century Urban Core

Urban redevelopment in American cities is complicated. It takes a delicate alignment of goals, power, leadership, ideas and sustained advocacy—sometimes resistance—on the part of many. Rebuilding the American City highlights 15 urban design and planning projects in the U.S. that have been catalysts for their downtowns—yet were implemented during the tumultuous start of the 21st century. The book presents five paradigms of American redevelopment and a range of perspectives on the complexities, successes and challenges inherent to rebuilding American cities today. Ultimately, it asks what rebuilding means, and for whom. Rebuilding the American City is essential reading for practitioners and students in urban design, planning, and public policy looking to understand the behind-thescenes motives, strategies and creative solutions for urban transformation in these political economic times of economic austerity

Other publications

Erasure Urbanism cover

Erasure Urbanism

Author: Patty Heyda
In Architecture is All Over
Editors: Esther Choi, Marrikka Trotter
Columbia University Press, 2017
ISBN 9781941332306
The Facade of Redevelopment cover

The Façade of Redevelopment

Author: Patty Heyda
In Material World of Modern Segregation
Editors: Heidi Kolk, Iver Bernstein
The Common Reader Vol 6, No 1
Washington University in St. Louis, 2022
Journal of Architectural Education cover


Author: Patty Heyda
In Journal of Architectural Education
Editors: Lisa Findley, Marc Neveu
Volume 75, Issue 2, September, 2021
ISSN 1046-4883
What About Typoglogy cover

What About Typology? An Update for Late Capitalism

Author: Patty Heyda
Design as Scholarship in Journal of Architectural Education
Editor: Marc Neveu
JAE Online, September, 2019
cover of Food Desert

Food Desert: Feeding the Regional Imaginary

Author: Patty Heyda
In Journal of Architectural Education
Editors: Ersela Kripa, Francesco Marullo, Stephen Mueller
Volume 77, Issue 2, Fall, 2023
ISSN 1046-4883
Diagrammatically: Urban Infill 5 cover

The City as Diagram Agency

Author: Patty Heyda
In Urban Infill 5: Diagrammatically
Editors: Karen Lewis, Terry Schwarz
Kent State University, 2012
ISBN 978-1-4675-4828-1
8 publications 5x4 back cond

Quality Urbanism: We Got What We Wanted But We Lost What We Had

Author: Patty Heyda
In Conditions 5/6
9 publications 5x4 backmonu

Welcome to the Post-Ideological City

Author: Patty Heyda
In MONU Magazine on Urbanism 15
Mutations cover

How to Build a Roman City

Authors: Patty Heyda, Jennifer Lee, Rami El Samahy, Hunter Tura
In Mutations
Editors: Armelle Lavalou, Rem Koolhaas, et al
Publisher: ACTAR/ arc en reve
ISBN-10 ‏: ‎ 8495273519

Selected projects

Laboratory for Suburbia logotype on green background

Laboratory for Suburbia

Laboratory for Suburbia is a think tank for critical suburban practice. In the last decade, suburbia has emerged as an urgent site of cultural, political, and spatial contestation—arguably the defining national geography. The design fields, however, have largely failed to engage this crucial space, remaining oriented instead toward cosmopolitan destination sites and inner-city creative placemaking.

Laboratory for Suburbia invites artists and architects to step into this gap. Initially designed as an open forum of online “sprawl sessions”—public exchanges and discussion—the project moves towards a culminating publication and other outcomes. Organized by Gavin Kroeber; with James McAnally at the Luminary; team members Derek Hoeferlin and Ila Sheren, Washington University

Spread from book labeled "Economic development" shows a map of the Bel-Ridge neighborhood in Ferguson, MO.

Radical Atlas of Ferguson, USA

Radical Atlas maps inequality and political economy of the American first-ring suburb, through the lens of Ferguson, Missouri. The project details how racialized systems of privatization embed in the contemporary built environment. Drawing shown by Casey Ryan.

Author: Patty Heyda
(Belt, forthcoming 2024)
101 maps, 280 Pages

Projects 3 rebuildingtowns 8in

Rebuilding the American Town

Authors: Patty Heyda and David Gamble
(Routledge, forthcoming 2024)
270 Pages
Stack of color-coded cards with minimalist line drawings of plots, buildings, and in one case a chicken. Real estate statistics and factoids are listed on each.

Typology Cards for Suburbia

Project from Heyda: Country Mouse, City Mouse graduate architecture studio.
Sheng Yan, student design lead
JAE Online, September, 2019
Two renderings of a semi-flooded greenspace with pedestrian boardwalks, kayakers in the water, and a road with a bike lane bordering.


Awarded design project, Nashville Civic Design Center Designing Action international competition. Project partner Jen Lee Michaliszyn, with Shen Ni
Map of development along a riverway.

The Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan

Nine-mile comprehensive urban design framework for the Anacostia River corridor and neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., Chan Krieger Associates.
Rendering CKA, WRT

Other work, essays, and news

The Quarantine Atlas

“The things we do to prop up work…”
Author: Patty Heyda
In Quarantine Atlas (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2022)
Editors: Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab
ISBN-13 9780762478132

Designing the Instruments of Urban Reform

Author: Patty Heyda
Book review of Ozay, Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore (Routledge, 2020)
In Journal of Urban Design Vol 25: 6.